At the heart of our maritime industry the future of

At the heart of our maritime industry: the future of containers lies with Contrecœur

Contrecœur is spearheading the Port of Montreal’s expansion strategy in the container market.

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“This is the largest project in the modern history of the Port of Montreal. And it’s a long-term project. The property was bought 40 years ago because the port managers knew that one day there would be no more space for the container business. That day is almost here,” said Mélanie Nadeau, Vice President of Public Affairs at the Port of Montreal.

As things progress, the port will reach its full capacity in 2027. Montreal, the largest port in the east of the country, handled 3.2 million tons of general cargo and 8.2 million tons of bulk cargo this year. About 42% of this traffic is in containers.

“If we don’t do that, container traffic will shift to our competing US East Coast ports. Containerization has been around in Montreal for 50 years. Quebec and Ontario companies use the Port of Montreal to import and export their products around the world, particularly by container. This activity is increasing all the time,” says Ms. Nadeau.

It’s going ok

The Contrecœur expansion project has gone through several phases since its inception in 2014.

The port is currently selecting a partner from the three finalists announced on May 6th: Axium Infrastructures and Pomerleau, Ports America Holdings and Terminal Investments Limited (TIL). The finalist, who will be known by the end of this year, will build the project.


The Contrecœur expansion is ecologically controversial because the project lies within part of the breeding range of the Coppery Red Horse, an endangered species found only in Quebec. Additionally, the port is still awaiting approval from Ottawa.

“We have been working with Fisheries and Oceans Canada for ten years to refine our project,” continues Ms. Nadeau. We have planned several mitigation measures with them and we are very confident that we will get the approval soon. »

The expansion includes the creation of 2 hectares of seagrass, approximately double the habitat destroyed by the project. The effectiveness of such measures has been criticized by wildlife conservation experts.

A big project

The Port of Montreal expansion at Contrecœur is a huge project.

Roughly speaking, it involves developing a gigantic slab that moves along the river, composed of two pillars, each with four gantry cranes or giraffes, identical to those found at the height of the Louis-H. you can see. Spring.

The intermodal freight yard and freight yard will cover an area of ​​24 hectares.

The project will have access to Highway 30 and the railroad. It will be carbon neutral as the facilities are fully electrified (in Montreal they are already almost fully electrified).

When the site is fully operational in 2050, between 250 and 370 trucks and one to two trains will reach the site every day.

The port plans an annual capacity of 1.5 million containers (offered when it opens, late 2026 or early 2027) and the creation of 1,200 jobs.

Several numbers are circulating about the cost of the project. Before the pandemic, the port was valued at $950 million, but we already know that this figure is being revised upwards, particularly due to inflation.